Legal Grounds ImageBack in 1993, with the birth of the Oslo process, Israel made the unfortunate mistake of placing themselves in a moral equivalency with the PLO. By agreeing to this process they were in fact signing away their rights to live and settle within Judea and Samaria. They were effectively placing themselves in the position of potentially, being perceived as a hated “occupier” within their own country. Israeli’s bought into the delusion that giving up pieces of the Jewish homeland would bring the peace with the Arabs that they had longed for.

As one of the members of LEGAL GROUNDS -The Campaign for Promoting Israel’s Rights states, “For decades, the PA Arabs have consistently repeated the same message: “the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory are illegal according to international law.” This mantra has been repeated so consistently, without any significant refutation from Israel, that it has become accepted by most International governments and media and has become the cornerstone and the raison d’etre for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, also known as the BDS movement.”

LEGAL GROUNDS – The Campaign for Israel’s Rights is the long needed delusion dispeller to push back against the lies and propaganda repeated now for the last 20 years.

LEGAL GROUNDS – Why Now?

As stated by THE LEGAL GROUNDS Website:

“In January, 2012, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu appointed a committee to examine the status of Israeli building in Judea and Samaria. Edmund Levy, former Justice of the High Court, headed the committee; its other members were Alan Baker, international lawyer and former adviser for the Foreign Ministry, and Tehiya Shapira, retired Tel Aviv District Court Judge. Their Report “The Status of Building in Judea and Samaria” – was released on July 8, 2012.”

What Were the Conclusions of the Committee and Why are They Important?

Further, The LEGAL GROUNDS Website States:

“The findings by the Committee provide basic legal conclusions. Because of both historical and legal factors, the decades-long presence of Israel in Judea and Samaria is not “belligerent occupation.” Israel’s situation is unique (sui generis) and Israel has the legal right to settle in Judea and Samaria. The accusations currently being leveled by the international community against Israel as a violator of “international law” because of plans to build in eastern Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria are countered by the report’s conclusions.”

What Did The Critics Say?

According to Dore Gold in his article, “The Levy Report and “Occupation” Narrative” published in Israel Hayom July 20, 2012. …”Critics of the report of Justice Edmond Levy’s committee was not what it had to say about the specific issues for which it was appointed, like zoning and planning in the West Bank, but rather with how it dealt with the broader narrative for describing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This became evident in how the reaction focused on the report’s conclusion that “the classical laws of ‘occupation’ as set out in the relevant international conventions cannot be considered applicable to … Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria.”

Ambassador Gold went on to say, …”because there was no previously recognized sovereign there when it was captured by the Israel Defense Forces during the Six-Day War in 1967. The Jordanian declaration of sovereignty in 1950 had been rejected by the Arab states and the international community, as a whole, except for Britain and Pakistan.”

And interestingly he continued, “Moreover, as the Levy Report points out, the Jewish people still had residual historical and legal rights in the West Bank emanating from the British Mandate that were never cancelled, but rather were preserved by the U.N. Charter, under Article 80 — the famous “Palestine Clause” that was drafted, in part, to guarantee continuity with respect to Jewish rights from the League of Nations.”

What Next?

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A Step in the Right Direction – A Hearing At the Knesset

According to Israel National News, Dr. Harel Arnon, world-renowned lawyer and co-author of Land Laws and International Law in Judea and Samaria, spoke on behalf of LEGAL GROUNDS on Sunday February 23, 2014.

Dr. Arnon stated from the article, “If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.” “One of the biggest lies, which is feeding the wild incitement campaign that Israel has been dealing with over the last few years, is that Israel is unlawfully occupying Judea and Samaria, and that the presence of the settlements and of Israelis in Judea and Samaria is a violation of international law. I want to confront and refute the accusation that Israel is unlawfully occupying Judea and Samaria.”

According to Israel National News, he reiterated the findings in the committee’s report and concluded his remarks with a statement that the settlements are not illegal, and all the injunctions and restrictions normally placed on an occupying nation are not relevant to Israel’s connection to Judea and Samaria.

For benefit of the reader a brief excerpt from my article, “Don’t Confuse Me With the Facts” – Israel and International Law

The Balfour Declaration and Beyond

“His Majesty views with favor the establishment in Palestine of a National home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this objective, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any country.” This laid the foundation for the San Remo Conference, in April 1920. The countries attending were the League of Nations members at that time Britain, Italy and France and representatives from Japan, Greece and Belgium. The Balfour Declaration was ratified giving the Jews the legal right to re-create their homeland within the British ruled territory of Palestine. It was considered to be a binding resolution of International Law. The Mandate for Palestine was constructed on the basis of the San Remo Resolution and was given over to Britain on the condition that Britain facilitate the implementation of the Balfour Declaration. That is, to bring into existence the formation of a Jewish State. Furthermore in 1922 The League of Nations enshrined into International Law the principle of Palestine being the National Home of the Jewish people and this was reconfirmed when the United Nations replaced the League of Nations.

Read more at: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/dont-confuse-me-with-the-facts-israel-and-international-law/2014/01/05/

This important session at the Knesset was chaired by MK Robert Ilatov, and attended by Members of Knesset Danny Danon, Ze’ev Elkin and Shimon Ohayon of Likud-Beytenu, Pnina Tamano-Shata of Yesh Atid, Hilik Bar of Labor and Yoni Chetboun of Jewish Home as stated by Israel National News.

Co-chairs  of LEGAL GROUNDS  – The Campaign for Promotion of Israel’s Rights, Arlene Kushner and Jeff Daube, Director of ZOA Israel, were also in attendance and were greatly encouraged by the momentum and acceptance of the contents of the Report by Members of Knesset.

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Moving Forward

LEGAL GROUNDS – The Campaign for Promotion of Israel’s Rights  – Non-Governmental Organization – Educational Initiative

Arlene Kushner and Jeff Daube, are the co-chair’s of LEGAL GROUNDS – The Campaign for the Promotion of Israel’s Rights, a non-governmental educational initiative to promote the acceptance of Israel’s legal rights in Judea and Samaria. They are conducting a large scale Knesset and public awareness campaign. The coalition is made up of over 30 Zionist organizations and prominent figures.

Member of Knesset Ayelet Shaked has spoken in favor of LEGAL GROUNDS – The Campaign for the Promotion of Israel’s Rights, when she stated at the Conference of Presidents Mission on Februrary 17, 2014, “this is  a great opportunity with all the Jewish leaders from America here to say: I want to correct something most people in the world and Israel adopt. Judea and Samaria are not “occupied” – I am talking about the legal definition. It is a territory “under dispute”. You should know and talk about it in your communities.”

She is also quoted as saying:

“I call on the Israeli government to adopt the report of Edmond Levy, according to the recommendation of the Minister of Justice, in order to prevent unnecessary pain and destruction”

As Prime Minister Netanyahu was poised to speak at AIPAC in Washington, the LEGAL GROUNDS Coalition took the opportunity to send a letter to the Prime Minister urging him to begin conveying Israel’s rights. The letter was signed by 23 prominent figures in the coalition.

An excerpt reads:

“Especially at this time, when Israel is confronting many challenges and intensive international pressure, it is important to begin conveying a consistent message about Israel’s legal rights. There is an exceedingly credible body of legal opinion, as offered by highly respected jurists, international lawyers and academics, refuting the notion that the Israeli presence beyond the 1967 line is illegal. The world must begin to hear this message: Israel is not an occupier, Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria is not illegal. International law does not support the position that Israel is illegal past the 1967 line.”

“The Jewish Identity was forged here 3800 Years Ago in the Land of Israel. This is the Jewish Land, This is the Jewish State.” The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu

Watch Dr. Arnon  at the Knesset Hearing Here –http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oI2W07PVlG4#t=252

LEGAL GROUNDS Website: http://wehavelegalgrounds.org/

LEGAL GROUNDS on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheLevyReport